It’s Difficult to Discard Mediocrity

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack

Hidden in the back of the Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack is a fantastic interview between the author, Nicholas Gurewitch, and David Malki !, creator of Wondermark.

The Perry Bible Fellowship is my favorite comic strip of all time. I love this comic because Gurewitch is such dynamic artist . You won’t find stuff like this on xkcd:





In the interview, Gurewitch mentions that it often takes him upwards of 100 hours to draw a single comic frame. I had always thought that he could just pop a few LSD tabs and unleash his right brain, but no – creating brilliant art is hard work.

If I find that the joke can be made better, I often scrap a frame, or an entire comic. I’ve lost a week’s worth of work before because I’ve realized that a comic could be done better…I find it kind of exciting to be able to scrap something I’ve put hours of effort into.

What a masochistic freak, right? No. It is far easier to discard something fantastic than to discard something mediocre. If you do something really great, then in the process of doing that work, you have acquired the skills to accomplish it again. There will be more great things where that came from, and the next time should be even better.

Quality work does not come about as a result of haphazard experimentation. Lousy work does. Discarding something crappy is like realizing a loss. That’s painful. But discarding something great is a wash sale.

It was easy to toss out opensmut when it came time to move on, because it was done well*. But Poca Bear was sloppily hacked together. I couldn’t throw it away until it was decomposing and full of maggots.

*In terms of our raw ability. Humor me here.

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